Marc Bergevin looked the media square in the eye on Tuesday and said "We fell flat on our face."

They did in every way, and they only survived as a group organizationally from General Manager to Head Coach because of an owner who decided to give his top men a second chance.

Geoff Molson will be rewarded this year for his patience and understanding.

The Habs will be bounce back in 2016-2017 in a huge way with a stunning turn to the upper reaches of the standings.

Here's why:

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Carey Price

Every prediction of success starts with the health of his knee.

Judging by the World Cup, the knee is fine.

Price is now 16 and 0 with a save percentage of .962 for Canada.

Here's what Price is worth in math terms: the difference between .940 and .910 in save percentage is a goal per game.

In a league that is averaging five goals per game to be shared, spotting that goal in poor goaltending is a path to failure.

On Tuesday Bergevin described Price as the foundation of a house.You can have all the other parts, but if you don't have the foundation of a goalie then the house is sure to fall.

It did.

This year, a healthy Price is realistically worth 15 points in the standings by himself.

He's one of the best goalies in the history of the game.

He only lacks the Stanley Cup and it's up to Bergevin to keep building upon Price's foundation.

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Alexander Radulov

He is no Alexander Semin.

Radulov is the second line right winger that the club was so desperate for last season.

The big win here is his attitude.

He's come to work on the ice and off. He's likable in the room. He's a horse on the ice to take off the puck.

He has vision and he has skills.

This is a huge upgrade from last year's team that, after the first line, was so easy to face.

A strong second line will also make a stronger first line as the match ups to stop the Habs aren't so easy to organize.

The first line will also take advantage of the breakout of Galchenyuk for a full season.

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Artturi Lehkonen

Artturi is another upgrade on the second line.

The goal he scored in the final pre-season game was an absolute rocket.

He was the leading scorer in the Swedish Elite League playoffs last year for championship Frolunda.

He comes highly acclaimed; former Habs captain Saku Koivu predicted this summer that Lehkonen would make the Habs.

Bold. He was right. He's another improvement up front.

Andrew Shaw

Another improvement for the club as he is a pain to play against and has a Stanley Cup pedigree in Chicago.

He is on the third line, on the right side where he is most comfortable.

That's a pretty good third line hockey player. He's also a leader in the room.

Having veterans Shaw and Weber will help Max Pacioretty be a better leader.

His experience of last season, and the panic that was spoken of during the horrendous slump last season, will help mitigate the tough times when they come this season.

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Shea Weber

The new anchor on defence.

Marc Bergevin said Tuesday when Canada needed a shutdown guy against an Ovechkin or a Kane, the best minds in hockey like Babcock and Quenneville said that their guy was Weber.

In two to three years when Weber is past his prime and Subban is still only 29, this will look like a difficult deal.

But at this moment, who is anyone to argue with the best minds in hockey who they look to as the shutdown guy to stop the world's best?

Weber however is not a puck carrier and that is where the breakout season of Nathan Beaulieu comes in.

The former first rounder had his best camp as a pro.

He looked so ready, smooth and able to take on this new challenge as the number one pair defenceman.

Beaulieu's breakout is now.


Also, the good Jeff Petry should be back.

He played months, not days, with a core injury and said that he could not even pivot.

What a massive loss he was, not only in the games he missed, but all the weeks that he played and was ineffective because he essentially could not skate well.

He'll miss the opener but the Habs are indicating that this is a short term injury, so Petry back on the second pair and in good health is a big help as well.


Even the fourth line is better than last year.

How many teams can boast a fourth line as good as Mitchell-Danault-Byron.

That's a 4th line that can score goals in this league.


The roster just looks good this year from player one to player 20.

Even the backup goalie, Al Montoya is more a sure thing than the dream the Habs had that they could use a late blooming college kid to somehow lead them out of the darkness last season.

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Bergevin deserves a big amount of credit, though the Subban trade won't look good in three years.

The GM addressed his weaknesses, including those of his head coach.

Michel Therrien has in-game difficulties: managing time outs, offside and crease challenges, and player personnel usage.

Bergevin found him support as well in Kirk Muller.


Only two question marks as players also take a downward path: Plekanec had a poor camp but it is likely not an issue as he tends to usually not show much when he doesn't have to.

Much is asked of Plekanec this year defensively without Lars Eller.

One also wonders about the home stretch in the career of Andrei Markov.

What's left there?

Therrien will manage his minutes to 20, he says.


I predict all of those improvements and the continuing good health of Carey Price will leave the Habs second in the east behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning.

I will take the Habs to win the first round of the playoffs as well, then fall to the Lightning who will go on to win the Stanley Cup.

I predict the Habs will finish with between 100 to 110 points and excitement will be high again, but the Lightning just have too much talent on their roster.

Not too bad at all, though considering all the hell you all went through last year, believing in this band of brothers who ended up going to war against each other.

This year, they'll battle the opposition instead and they'll win many more than they'll lose.

I don't think that cup is in the offing this year, but when you have the world's best goalie anything is possible with health -- and a deadline deal if it's all going as predicted to load up more.

Enjoy the hockey, everyone! I feel certain you will.